Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

By Miyoko Ohtake
When John Spanaro and Anne Mooney built a new home for themselves and their two daughters in Utah's Emigration Canyon, they brought more than just their California ideals and modern aesthetics with them. They also brought their love for homemade food. Here's, Anne shares their recipe for pasta carbonara, which they created via trial and error after a trip to Rome.

"The last time we traveled to Rome, we enjoyed an amazing meal of spaghetti ala carbonara, one of the eternal city’s most famous and sumptuous dishes," Anne says. "The name is derived from the Italian word for coal, and some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers and prepared over coal fires. Upon our return to the U.S., we set out to recreate the delicious meal and after several attempts, came up with the following recipe. When there’s time, John makes the pasta fresh on our marble countertops. It has become the dish most frequently requested for birthdays and other family celebrations. Enjoy!" 

Anne and John pose outside their Cor-Ten steel-clad home with their daughters Claire and Audrey. Read the story about their house (Utah's for LEED for Homes-rated residence) here and check out their kitchen in Dwell's special 100 Kitchens We Love issue, on newsstands April 5, 2011.

Pasta Carbonara

Anne's homemade pasta carbonara, plated with her requisite generous serving of black pepper.


5 eggs

4 ounces heavy cream


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 cloves minced garlic

4 ounces chopped pancetta

4 ounces chopped prosciutto

1 pound fettuccine

4 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) freshly grated pecorino romano and parmesan cheeses, preferably a mix of half and half

Black pepper           


The eggs will coagulate as they come into contact with the hot pasta so it is important to work quickly.

1. Beat the eggs and cream together with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil, butter, and garlic in a large pan. Add the chopped pancetta and prosciutto, cooking gently until the fat becomes transparent.

3. Cook the fettuccine, following the package directions to avoid over-cooking. Drain, reserving a bit of the pasta water, then add the pasta and water to the large pan containing the pancetta and prosciutto.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the beaten eggs and cream, adding a small quantity of the cheese. The eggs will coagulate as they come into contact with the hot pasta so it is important to work quickly. Stir until each strand of pasta is coated with a thick yellow cream. 

5. Add the remaining cheese and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve at once, garnishing plates with generous amounts of black pepper. 

Anne's tips: This is great served with rocket salad (arugula with shaved pecorino) and a fine Brunello. Finish the meal with gelato and fresh berries. Starter idea: Bruschetta with chopped tomatoes and basil drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil.

The family's 150-square foot kitchen features Carrara marble countertops—perfect of pasta-making, John says. The stools are the Covey Stools by Jeff Covey.


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